Virginia poised to make ‘conversion therapy’ illegal for minors – The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER Both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly have passed legislation that would prohibit conversion therapy for people under age 18.

The House of Delegates on Monday voted 66-27 in support of HB 386, which would ban any health-care provider or person who performs counseling as licensed by the Department of Health Professions from engaging in conversion therapy with a minor. Doing so would constitute unprofessional conduct and would be grounds for disciplinary action. All House Democrats, including 10th District Del. Wendy Gooditis of Clarke County, and 11 Republicans voted in favor of the bills passage. Twenty-seven Republicans, including 29th District Del Chris Collins, R-Frederick County, and 33rd District Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, voted against the bill.

On Jan. 21, the Senate voted 21-18 in support of similar legislation, SB 245. Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Upperville, who represents the 27th District, was the only Republican to vote in favor of the bills passage.

Each chamber must now consider the others legislation.

Conversion therapy is defined in HB 386 as any practice or treatment that seeks to change an individuals sexual orientation or gender identity.

To date, 19 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have passed laws banning conversion therapy for minors.

I have known people whose parents had forced them into conversion therapy, Gooditis said in a text. Not only did it have no effect whatsoever on their sexuality or identity, but the effects it did have were to drive them from their families and create huge, long-term mental distress. Some of the methods used which they described to me were appalling forms of physical and emotional abuse, and we must not permit these to be inflicted on people in the name of trying to force them to be something their families want them to be.

In a message to The Star, Vogel wrote: I do not support adolescent conversion therapy. Medical science does not support the benefits of such a practice and instead the evidence shows the severe harm [that] can be done to a child.

But LaRock countered in an email that HB 386 would rob parents and their teens of the right to make the best treatment decisions for the childs unwanted sexual desires or their choice of sexual identity, limiting the freedom of Virginias youth and their parents to select therapists that work for them. This bill also violates the special nature of the client-therapist relationship, threatens religious liberty, and quite possible free speech rights. Scientific studies have shown that sexual orientation can, and does, change, especially in youth. Public policy should be based on sound, evidence-based science, not ideologically-driven political correctness.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nations largest LGBTQ civil rights organization has called conversion therapy dangerous, especially among minors. HRC says conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness and suicide.

The American Psychiatric Association also strongly opposes conversion or reparative therapy. The APA says it does not believe that same-sex orientation should or needs to be changed, and efforts to do so represent a significant risk of harm by subjecting individuals to forms of treatment which have not been scientifically validated and by undermining self-esteem when sexual orientation fails to change. No credible evidence exists that any mental health intervention can reliably and safely change sexual orientation; nor, from a mental health perspective does sexual orientation need to be changed.

Collins could not be reached for comment.

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Virginia poised to make 'conversion therapy' illegal for minors - The Winchester Star

Doctor Who: fan reaction to first black Time Lord exposes Britain’s deep divisions on race and gender – The Conversation UK

BBC audiences were recently introduced to their first black Doctor Who. In the episode which aired in the UK on January 26, Jo Martin previously best known for roles in Holby City and Blue Story played an ostensibly ordinary human who was, towards the end of the episode, revealed as a previously unknown (possibly past, future or parallel) incarnation of televisions most famous Time Lord.

A few weeks earlier the latest version of the shows recurring super-villain, The Master, had for the first time been portrayed by a person of colour, a role played with manic zeal by Sacha Dhawan in a performance dubbed by The Guardian as the Hot Camp Master.

Both events provoked strong responses on social media, from enthusiastic plaudits through to rants from fans ranging from the sincerely woke to the reactionary and even racist. The latter response might be considered out of character for the followers of a show whose liberal hero has for more than half a century renounced violence and struggled for peace, social justice and environmental sustainability.

This is a series whose very first episode had a female producer, Verity Lambert, and a British Asian director, Waris Hussein phenomena virtually unheard of back in 1963. (The latter was also played by Dhawan in the BBCs 2013 docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time.)

Its a programme which, in 1972, argued passionately (albeit symbolically) in favour of membership of the European Economic Community (or in its own terms the Galactic Federation), and a year later railed against the impacts of industrial pollution.

In recent years, it has foregrounded LGBT+ protagonists, issued dire warnings against climate change and even made reference to the fabrication of evidence to support the invasion of Iraq.

Yet since 2017, when Jodie Whittaker was cast as the first female Doctor Who, arguments have raged between those strange misogynists depicted by the Huffington Posts Graeme Demianyk as man babies and, in contrast, the likes of The Guardians Zoe Williams, who heralded Whittakers Doctor as representing the revolutionary feminist we need right now.

If, like mine, your social media bubble overwhelmingly favoured the Remain campaign and still cant get its head around the fact that the majority of people didnt, then your friends and followers may well have applauded Martins appearance. But you might then be surprised if you were to venture into some Doctor Who fan forums. Youd see quite a backlash against what some perceive as the politically correct direction their favourite show has taken. This show and all it used to offer has been destroyed by politically correct writing and casting, opined one fan. Another responded: Its not woke, unless your idea of woke is it has a black woman in it. Its the blandest form of mainstream liberalism but some internet talking heads treat it as if it was 50 minutes of Jodie Whittaker reciting the Communist Manifesto.

The outrage of the anti-PC brigade has simultaneously fuelled and been fuelled by coverage in the mainstream media. Echoing a populist press narrative that the series has become, in the words of the Daily Mail, a tiresome ordeal of political correctness since Whittaker assumed the role, The Sun reported this week that viewers baulked at the programmes unbearable political correctness as another female Doctor was revealed.

Also writing in The Sun, Jeremy Clarkson observed that angry fans say its littered with ham-fisted attempts to ram Lefty dogma down our throats.

This backlash has sparked an equal and opposite reaction one which, like the fan who described the series current ideological stance as the blandest form of mainstream liberalism is not simply aligned with that stance, but which is concerned that its stance is not radical or robust enough. Writing in the New Statesman, assistant editor Jonn Elledge has argued that the casting of the first female Doctor has been undermined by the fact that that she has been given no material as meaty as that written for the supporting male characters.

Despite having repeatedly argued for the importance of that casting decision in books and articles, both here and elsewhere, Ive since expressed concern at the series simultaneous weakening of the character.

Jack Hudson has recently argued in The Guardian that, beneath its guise of progressive politics, the show has in fact grown profoundly conservative in ways which may at once alienate both its progressive and its reactionary fans.

In December Lenny Henry (in the run-up to his recent appearance in the series) was quoted as suggesting that BBC bosses would rather cast a dog than a black actor in the title role. In this context, Martins casting as the first black, female Doctor seems particularly significant.

Yet Martins Doctor is not (as yet) the series lead. Progressive voices in fandom have sometimes suggested that, when Whittaker eventually leaves the series, her successor will most likely (and most appropriately) be a woman of colour. There may now be those who fear that Martins tangential Doctor (whoever and whenever in the Time Lords timeline she may turn out to be) has ticked both those boxes and that the production team may next time once more fall back on casting a white, male lead.

These arguments will doubtless continue to rage, along with much bigger ones. The polarisation of political perspectives among the British public since the Brexit referendum of course remains a matter of ongoing national concern. The current disagreements amongst Doctor Who fans once a group which unambiguously embodied the liberal consensus may appeal to the mainstream media precisely because they mirror those larger societal divisions, and may prove of greater significance as indicative of those broader ideological shifts and splits.

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Doctor Who: fan reaction to first black Time Lord exposes Britain's deep divisions on race and gender - The Conversation UK

Henry Louis Gates Jr. on What Really Happened at Obama’s ‘Beer Summit’ – The New York Times

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is one of a handful of academics who have crossed over into something approaching true celebrity. Which is apparently what happens when youve written and edited dozens of books of popular history; had a guiding hand in 18 major documentaries on black history, the most recent of which was Who Killed Malcom X?; and spent six seasons uncovering the genealogical mysteries of famous people as host of PBSs Finding Your Roots. Gatess desire to reach beyond the ivory tower in addition to writing landmark works of literary criticism like The Signifying Monkey, hes the director of Harvards Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research was motivated by some very personal feelings. My brother asked me once, says Gates, 69, recalling a time when he and his work were less well known, When are you going to write a book that Daddy and Mama can read?

Theres no arguing that popular storytelling and factual scholarship can be combined in useful ways. What Im curious about is your opinion on the limits, if there are any, of that combination. Its an excellent question. It took a long time for black scholars and filmmakers to feel comfortable representing black historical figures in three dimensions. Take Harriet Tubman. Students think Harriet Tubman was basically leading a train of slaves out of Grand Central Station. But I think the number she saved was closer to 70 which was a lot, by the way. Or: The myth that our ancestors were kidnapped by your ancestors, David, is just untrue. The fantasy is that my 10th-great-grandmother and -grandfather were out on a picnic and some white people jumped out of the bushes and they ended up on a plantation in Virginia. Thats not how it happened. But one of the things that Ive dedicated my career to is showing that black people are just as complex, positively and negatively, as anybody else. For years, the mythos that undergirded black history was that the slaves were the victims of European dominance. But really it was the Europeans who were selling guns to African kings, who engaged in wars against other Africans in order to defeat them and then sell the victims to Europeans. I remember once I was asked to consult on a project about Martin Luther King. I said, You cant do hagiography anymore. King was complicated. He had affairs and doubts. He was a flawed person but also a great man, and showing him in his full complexity would make for a better film than pretending he was a walking saint. But the historian who was involved in this project said: Too many racists. Theyre not ready for that.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. addressing a class at Harvard in 1996. John Blanding/The Boston Globe, via Getty Images

Was conciliatory thinking along the lines of racists arent ready for that in your head in 2009 when you were dealing with the incident with the Cambridge police? Oh, yeah. President Obama made an innocent comment that the arrest was stupid, which it was. Then all of a sudden all these racists are beating up on him. My whole attitude was channeled through the desire to protect our first black president. But there was another motivation. I thought that it would be hubristic and dishonest if I compared what happened to me to what happens to black people in the inner city. I thought, If I didnt have the protections of class and status

The outcome wouldve been very different. Right. When the policeman, Sgt. Crowley, and I met, I said, Why did you arrest me? He said, I was afraid that I wasnt going to be able to go home to my wife, because I was convinced that your partner was upstairs and he was going to come down and blow me away. He told me he had gotten a call: Two black guys are breaking into this house. One of them answers the door me when he rang the bell, and Im stepping over suitcases, because Id just come back from a trip. Unbeknown to me, one pattern of thievery is bringing empty suitcases to a house. So the officer saw a black face, he saw the suitcases: Thats part of a profile. I was what Barbara Johnson calls an already-read text. He couldnt hear me, couldnt see me. Well, that might be related to police excesses and abuses, but its a far end of the scale, and I was able to reverse what happened to me, unlike an Eric Garner. So my whole reaction to my arrest was determined by two things: The attacks on President Obama and my own determination not to claim too much for my own victimization.

Then when you actually had the beer summit, did President Obama say anything helpful, or was that whole thing pro forma? Oh, thats interesting. I was at Marthas Vineyard, and I had been getting instructions from the White House, through Glenn Hutchins. They told me not to wear a bespoke suit. We dont want it to be about class. All of the sudden I was the upper-class black person against the working class. I go, Im the victim! They go, No, dont wear one of those suits. I go: These are the only suits I have. Im not going out to Sears and Roebuck and buying a suit. Then they go, Do not fly down in a private plane. Glenn Hutchins owns a private plane. Glenns a billionaire. Hes one of my best friends. The only way we could get to Washington was on Glenns plane, because there was fog. Anyway, we got to the White House, and we and Sgt. Crowleys family all got to the library at the same time. I walked over to Sgt. Crowley. He had his kids there, and I said to them: Hi, Im Professor Gates. Hope you come to Harvard one day. Maybe youll take one of my classes. Then I said to him, Can I have a word with you? He and I went off and did the beer summit ourselves. I said, Look, I dont know about you, man, but I just want this to go away. He goes, This is a nightmare. I said to him: The president has come under attack. Racisms coming out of the floor. Im sure youre a decent person. I forgive you. Lets move on. He goes, That would be the best thing that could happen. I said, Maybe we could find a way to lecture about it. He laughed and said, Anything I can do to get off the beat. I realized he was funny. I think that gay people have a sense of whos homophobic. I think that Jewish people have a sense of whos anti-Semitic. I definitely think black people I could walk out there and tell you, That [expletive] is a racist.

The White House beer summit, held in the Rose Garden in 2009: from left, Vice President Joe Biden, Gates, Sgt. James Crowley and President Barack Obama. Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg, via Getty Images

And youre saying you didnt get that vibe from Sgt. Crowley? I didnt get that vibe from him. When we were called into the Oval Office, I said to the president, Mr. President, we had a great conversation in the library. He said, Oh, it sounds like its all settled. The actual beer summit was us doing small talk. And the reason Joe Biden was there is that the Cambridge police had insisted that because there were going to be two black guys at the table, they wanted two white guys at the table! They had sent somebody involved in the Cambridge police structure to be there. As we were walking out to the Rose Garden, somehow that guy got pushed to the side, and Joe Biden jumped in the line. Thats what nobody ever figured out: Why is Biden at the table? He was there to be the second white guy.

As far as you can tell, how much is Bidens appeal to black voters solely about his association with Obama? Biden, wisely, has wrapped his arms so tightly around Barack Obama that theyre inextricably intertwined, at least in his speeches. Hes polling so positively among black people because of the Obama residue. But that could change overnight. I havent endorsed any candidate, because I have too many friends. Elizabeth Warren was my colleague. I did Bernie Sanderss family tree. In 2018, I got an award in Delaware, along with Joe Biden and Ron Chernow. I spent a whole evening with Biden, and I liked him. All of this is to say that I have been sort of watching the field. But, I mean, Im going to vote for whatever Democrat emerges. I want to say this right, because I havent said this to anybody: Among all the candidates, the person who I believe could stand toe-to-toe, strongest and longest with Donald Trump is Mike Bloomberg.

Why? Who do you think his constituency is? I know Mike Bloomberg socially. Every summer I go to a dinner on Marthas Vineyard with Mike Bloomberg. Ive argued with him about policies that I didnt like. He is enormously intelligent and capable. When he was mayor, I watched him. He could wear it lightly. Its not like Jimmy Carter with the weight of the world on him. I think that hes tough, and I think he could take on the bully Donald Trump. Very few people can stand up to a bully. Mikes got some bully in him. I think hes good.

Stop and frisk isnt too much of a problem for him? He faces two problems that he has to overcome. He has already apologized for stop and frisk, but he has to put it behind him, and also the Central Park Five. What the city and the legal structure did to those five boys was shameful. The mayor has to put that behind him. If hes successful doing that, I think black people want him, because he is smart, sensitive, strong. I think he cares about health care. He understands the economic system. This is not an endorsement. But I would support him if he got the nomination.

Something I see your guests do on Finding Your Roots is framing their narratives as triumphant ones, and Id say a similar form of exceptionalism shapes how a lot of Americans think of the countrys past. In what way does our propensity for that kind of thinking inhibit our ability to fully reckon with subjects like racism and slavery that dont easily fit into a narrative of exceptionalism? Because that tension is obviously at the root of the conflict over, for example, the removal of Confederate monuments. I feel as if you and I are sitting here, were having coffee, and we hear this noise, and these zombies come out of the floor, and the zombie is white supremacy. We thought these [expletive] were dead. Im trying to use the popularity of Finding Your Roots to get these political messages in there without being a scold. I am trying to deconstruct notions of racial purity. There is no racial purity. We are all diverse. Showing diversity is important to me politically, and insofar as we can achieve that, our series has an educational value for the larger country, particularly at a time when were at Redemption redux.

Gates with Soledad OBrien on the set of Finding Your Roots. PBS/Ark Media, via Everett Collection

We understand the Redemption era now as a white response to the gains black people made during Reconstruction. Is it too simplistic to say that the energy driving the current moment is also a reaction to black progress and Obamas becoming president? Ive spent a lot of time thinking about your question, and I dont know the answer. If were sitting around in a bar with a bunch of black people, they could say, Barack and Michelle drove all the white people totally out of their minds. I think thats partly true. The other thing, though, is that between Martin Luther Kings death and now, the black middle class has doubled and the black upper-middle class has quadrupled. But simultaneously, if you look at the wages of white workers the chance of your kids doing better than you if you were in the white working class, thats over. So you might look at a black family in the White House, all these black people who joined the upper-middle class, and theres a kind of collective What the [expletive]?

Which youre saying resulted in resentment? Its the curve of rising expectations. When its interrupted, people go nuts. After World War II, G.I.s got mortgages so they could live in the suburbs and buy a house, buy a car, then a TV. Their kids could go to college. Their grandchildren could be doctors. That was the promise of America. That promise is over. That drives people crazy, and then they target, they objectify, they need a scapegoat. So its not just Michelle and Barack. They are part of the larger phenomenon. To go from them to Trump is a seismic revolution that is the result of a collapse of expectation.

You mentioned college: I went back and read Loose Canons, and theres a line in there in which you say that college students are too old to form but not too old to challenge. How does a line like that resonate today, when challenging students can seem like such a fraught proposition? Political correctness is heinous if it comes from a person on the left or the right or a person of color or a white person. Lets take a hot-button issue. I wrote the introduction to the 50th-anniversary edition of Albert Murrays The Omni-Americans, and there was this paragraph I wrote last summer that I saw when I was cleaning out my Word files on my iPad. In it I said, Only people not familiar with this history of slavery or Ta-Nehisi Coatess recent work would wonder if there was an economic disadvantage to African Americans subsequent to the Civil War because of slavery and then because of the rollbacks of Reconstruction. I said, However, reasonable people could disagree about reparations. But, I continued, there are few people today who have the courage to stand up within the community and say, I genuinely think reparations is a mistake. Now Im not saying thats my position. But Im saying you will find nobody black standing up and criticizing reparations its very rare because theyre afraid that students are going to boycott them or that theyll be called an Uncle Tom. Thats not right. We fall apart, particularly in the academy, when we succumb to or perpetuate that kind of intellectual bullying.

What is your position on reparations? I do believe that its impossible for any rational person not to understand the cost of 400 years of slavery and then another century of Jim Crow. We have to find ways to compensate for that cost. Affirmative action, to me, is a form of reparations. So is health care Obamacare or a variant. And theres reform of public education. One of the most radical things we could do to reform public-school education would be to equalize the amount of money spent per student in every school. That is never going to happen, but that would constitute a radical shift. Those are my three big principles of reparations, and two of the three affect poor people in general. But Im a scholar of African and African-American history. There were palpable costs to antiblack racism that have had profound effects on the state of black America. These effects are cumulative, and somebody has to do something about it.

In terms of your own writing, youre a long way from the guy who made his name with a dense academic book like The Signifying Monkey. Something like Stony the Road is written in much simpler language with much less jargon. How do you make sense of that evolution? The Signifying Monkey is my tenure book. I was just trying to get tenure. I was trying to be a bridge between the black tradition and poststructuralism and deconstruction. Then I got tenure, and as far as the evolution of my own prose, once you get tenure, you could write films, you could do anything. A crucial point came when I gave a lecture at Howard University. A friend of mine invited me down to deliver my essay called Binary Oppositions in Chapter 1 of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. I thought I was introducing structuralism. When I was done, I expected a standing ovation. The first question I got was: Yeah, brother. All we want to know is, was Booker T. Washington an Uncle Tom or not? That had a profound effect on me. I have an ego. I want the audience to be with me. Thats what you see in my evolution.

David Marchese is a staff writer and the Talk columnist for the magazine.

This interview has been edited and condensed from two conversations.

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Henry Louis Gates Jr. on What Really Happened at Obama's 'Beer Summit' - The New York Times

Solvays mayor threatened to fire the villages lawyers. Instead, they quit – syracuse.com

SOLVAY, N.Y. -- Three days after the Solvay mayor berated a village attorney in front of a roomful of people, the villages law firm quit.

Costello, Cooney & Fearon has been Solvays legal counsel for 23 years. Friday, the firm sent Solvay a letter saying they were ending the relationship.

I am ethically precluded from discussing any of the reasons that led to this, said attorney Kevin Gilligan. But after 23 years were not going to be their attorneys.

Solvay Mayor Derek Baichi has been critical of the villages lawyers for months, complaining in vague terms about several investigations the board launched into its own members and the police chief. Hes threatened to get rid of the firm and tried at least once to withhold their payments.

He also tried to reappoint the firm to a full-year term earlier this year, but was blocked by the rest of the board.

At a meeting last Tuesday, Baichi told Nadine Bell, a partner at Costello, Cooney & Fearon, that she needed to earn their money. He was asking Bell to disapprove of a proposed resolution that would have forced Baichi to reimburse the village for an investigation into the police chief.

Nadine, you gotta give the right answers, dont give me this political correctness garbage," he shouted. "Do your job.

The resolution was eventually dropped, after which Baichi said he was given misinformation.

Baichi has also lambasted Kevin Gilligan, a Costello lawyer who has worked for the village since 1997.

In December, Baichi tried to block a resolution to pay the villages legal bills for the month. He told Gilligan he would pay the bills if Gilligan disclosed information about an investigation into another board member.

Ill make you a deal. I want you to read the email you sent to this board within the last 24 hours about one of those investigations, Baichi said. If you read the email Ill vote yes.

I wont read the email. Its a confidential attorney-client communication, Gilligan replied. It would be a violation of my legal ethics.

Baichi eventually relented and said that he would agree to pay the law firm for services theyd already provided, but noted he was unhappy with a pair of investigations that were ongoing.

Alright you know what Ill do? Ill vote yes, only because its Christmas and Kevin youve been a pretty decent lawyer these past two years," he said. "Ill vote yes because I dont want to ruin Christmas.

Baichi tried to reappoint Costello, Cooney & Fearon earlier this year -- an effort that was blocked by the majority of the board. The majority of the board instead recommended issuing a request for proposals to seek bids from other firms.

The board agreed to keep Costello, Cooney, Fearon on a month-to-month basis until the RFP was completed. That RFP is ongoing and one law firm has applied.

Solvays board has been beset by internal investigations for much of the last seven months. Those investigations (one into a pair of board members and another into the police chief) have been a source of constant friction and open hostility between the mayor and his opponents on the board. Theyve also been shrouded in secrecy. Baichi has said repeatedly he cant discuss the details because the village lawyers have advised him against it.

Costello, Cooney, Fearon has represented Solvay since 1997. Gilligan said he was first appointed by Mayor Anthony Modafferi 23 years ago. Since then, he said, hes made a lot of friends working with Solvay.

Well miss working with the village after 23 years, he said. I met a lot of the people and love them very much.

Gilligan sent the village a letter last week alerting officials that the law firms services would end on Feb. 14.

He also commended Bell for operating on a totally ethical basis" at last weeks contentious meeting.

The Solvay board will hold a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss the future of the villages legal representation.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Baichi tried to appoint another law firm earlier this year. He tried to reappoint CCF, but the board voted against him and instead opted to issue a request for proposals for firms.

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Solvays mayor threatened to fire the villages lawyers. Instead, they quit - syracuse.com

Wendy McElroy: The Narrative and Philosophy of Cryptocurrency – Bitcoin News

The central banks of Britain, Japan, the euro zone, Sweden and Switzerland have grouped up to assess potential use cases for digital currencies. Talk of such currencies gained momentum after Facebook announced plans last year to introduce a cryptocurrency called libra, CNBC. In the light of such developments, it is evident that those who view crypto as an engine of freedom are losing control of the narrative.

Also read: Why User Experience Is Cryptos True Killer App

The narrative is an important concept because those who command the narrative are most likely to determine the outcome. Once closely associated with political correctness, the term has gone mainstream in recent years. The narrative is the story of somethingan issue, an ideabut it is more than merely relating the facts of a matter. In postmodern philosophy, from which political correctness draws heavily, the narrative creates reality; it creates the facts. The dominant story becomes the culture and the truth of a society. In other words, the narrative defines reality, not vice versa. This is one reason why the left is so preoccupied with the control of words and ideas; words and ideas control reality itself.

Most people use the narrative in a more casual way to mean a story that takes a specific approach or tone. Left-wing and right-wing narratives war with each other on issues, for example. Nevertheless, the term retains some of its original meaning. Giving context and interpretation to an issue does define what people view as true about it. In turn, the general publics perception does influence the events or facts that follow, especially in the absence of a competing narrative. This is why states censor: they want to eliminate competing truths.

This process applies to crypto, including the blockchain. The narrative of freedom can define the outcome. When it becomes effective at doing so, censorship is likely; at the moment, there is no need. Again, those to whom crypto is an engine of freedom are losing control of the narrative. Few things are as important to the future of crypto than to reclaim Bitcoins original vision of financial freedom from what is becoming the dominant context and interpretation: statism.

Happily, freedom enjoys a distinct advantage. The mechanics of crypto favor it strongly. Cryptos decentralization gives economic power to the average person who transfers wealth around the globe at will, requiring only the protection of solid encryption. And, yet, the state could win; some believe it already has.

Crypto needs a powerful competing narrative of freedom. It needs to remember its roots. Much more than financial freedom is at stake: every other freedom rests upon the ability of people to control their own wealth. Every time some aspect of free-market crypto is explored, such a narrative expands and users move closer to independence.

The first step in establishing a narrative of freedom is to reject the claim that crypto is simply another investment or money-making tool. Certainly, this is one function of crypto. And for some people, it may be the only function. But this is a comment upon their psychology or motives, not upon the inherent nature of crypto which exists as a thing apart. The claim is also dangerous; it opens the door to state control because the vast majority of financial institutions are now under its authority in one form or another and using them tends to legitimize their existence. This is a story that needs to change.

By far, the best freedom narrative for crypto is the truth because it withstands scrutiny and has the practical advantage of being backed by reality. The best approach to this narrative is to state the basics of crypto, simply and clearly. And then aggressively build upon them.

Crypto is usually discussed in economic, political, or technical terms. But Aristotle claimed that all things are philosophical. That is, the foundation of everything, including technology, is philosophical because philosophy asks the most fundamental questions about a thing.

Philosophy is not arcane or elite. Classical Greek philosophy used to serve the same function that psychology does today; it taught the principles of how to live a better life. Philosophy can be broken into three broad categories: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Metaphysics deals with the first principles or nature of reality and the relationship between what exists, including abstractions. Epistemology is the theory of human knowledge, especially its acquisition, validation, and scope. Ethics is the branch of knowledge that addresses the moral principles governing behavior. Three questions capture the relationship between these categories. What exists? How do I know it? So what?

The Philosophy of Crypto is a book-length project but a brief glimpse of it can be garnered by loosely applying the three categories of philosophy to crypto.

Metaphysics. Metaphysics arises every time someone accuses crypto of not being real because it is based on nothing. This is a metaphysical attack as much as an economic or political one.

These days, the accusation is not generally hurled at the blockchain which has been widely adopted by businesses and states. The blockchains elegant efficiency means that it will continue to spread into every corner of life. And useful things automatically acquire the status of real.

The second half of cryptothe coinsis a different matter. Crypto without physical backing, such as gold or a basket of fiat currencies, is often called unreal. Clearly, this claim is untrue. At its root, crypto is an algorithma string of computer commands that produce a result. In this case, the result is a coin that is accepted as a medium of exchange. Whether or not people credit it as valid money, crypto is definitely real. As with fiat, its value is based upon peoples acceptance of it. Unlike fiat, the acceptance does not have to be coerced.

In his essay Bitcoin Equals Freedom, Ross Ulbricht pointed to another value upon which the something of crypto is basedfreedom from financial authorities, especially from central banks.

It is like magic that Bitcoin could somehow come from nothing, and without prior value or authoritative decree, become money. But Bitcoin did not appear in a vacuum. It was a solution to a problem cryptographers had been struggling with for many years: How to create digital money with no central authority that couldnt be forged and could be trusted.

Epistemology. What does truth mean in crypto, and how do human beings know it? The truth of crypto and the blockchain is that they work. The better they function, the truer they become. Human beings know when crypto and the blockchain are true because they work. Every time the blockchain delivers and preserves information, it is akin to a proof of principle.

Ethics. The so what? of crypto is contained within its structure. Which is to say, the ethics of crypto is an extension of its reality (metaphysics) and how its truth works (epistemology). Crypto is inherently decentralized and entirely voluntary. More than this, the blockchain cannot be centralized and controlled by a single hand or authority, and no one can be forced to use it. Free-market crypto is controlled by individual users who agree to exchange and co-operate to mutual advantage. It is a pure expression of non-violence. This is its ethical basis.

The only way to introduce violence is through crime, such as hacking a wallet. Overwhelmingly, the crime introduced is state control; even then, however, the state cannot impose its will on the blockchain, only on the people who use it. These people need to understand the narrative of freedom.

Ulbrichts article concludes, The promise of freedom and the allure of destiny energized the early community. Bitcoin was consciously, yet spontaneously taken up as money while no one was watching, and our world will never be the same.

Bitcoin was created to fulfill a promise of freedom and the allure of destiny. It was forged by cryptographers who did not know it would become a popular currency and investment. Its worth as money should never be denigrated, but those who view crypto only as money are missing the point. The narrative of freedom must do a better job of explaining.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the authors own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see whats happening in the industry.

Wendy McElroy is a Canadian individualist anarchist and individualist feminist. She was a co-founder of the Voluntaryist magazine and modern movement in 1982, and has authored over a dozen books, scripted dozens of documentaries, worked several years for FOX News and written hundreds of articles in periodicals ranging from scholarly journals to Penthouse. She has been a vocal defender of WikiLeaks and its head Julian Assange.

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Wendy McElroy: The Narrative and Philosophy of Cryptocurrency - Bitcoin News

An ‘Evening of Mad Comedy’ coming to the CCAT – Paso Robles Daily News

An Evening of Mad Comedy with Mad Magazine Senior Editor Joe Raiola is coming to the Cambria Center for the Arts Theatre on Feb. 13. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are $20 and availableonline at My805Tix.com or at the box office.

In An Evening of MAD Comedy, Joe Raiola reflects on his life in humor and his 33 years as a member of the legendary The Usual Gang of Idiots. (BIG DEAL!)

Sharing wild stories of renegade publisher William Gaines and the unprecedented challenges MAD faced in the aftermaths of 9/11, the Danish cartoon controversy, and the rise of political correctness, Raiola offers a rare peek behind the scenes at Americas dumbest magazine.

As one of the creative innovators behind MADs rare longevity and influence, Raiola churned out a steady stream of pure silliness and pointed political satire at the expense of six Presidents from Reagan to Trump. During that time, he also specialized in making funny noises in the hallway, which was never a problem, as he recalls, since I worked at the only place in America where if you matured, you got fired.

An Evening of MAD Comedy concludes with an outrageous visual presentation tracing MADs colorful history as a revolutionary satiric force and spotlighting many of the magazines classic features and controversial material, followed by a lively Q+A segment.


About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.

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An 'Evening of Mad Comedy' coming to the CCAT - Paso Robles Daily News

White nationalist has long worked at conservative outlets under real name – The Guardian

A new report has revealed that a prominent white nationalist author, activist and podcaster known as Paul Kersey has in fact worked for more than a decade at mainstream conservative institutions and media outlets under his real name.

According to an investigation by the not-for-profit media outlet Right Wing Watch (RWW), the man who has worked under the Kersey pseudonym is in fact Michael J Thompson.

The Guardian has uncovered additional material that supports reporting by RWW, and further indicates Thompsons role in moulding rightwing activists from a position near the heart of Americas most influential conservative institutions.

The RWW investigation, published on Monday, reveals the work of Paul Kersey, whom it calls a barely underground member of the white nationalist movement and a fixture on the roster of racist media outlets and campaign groups.

But it also shows that Thompson worked under his own name at institutions like the Leadership Institute, its media arm Campus Reform, and WND, formerly World Net Daily, a once-popular conspiracy-minded conservative outlet, as late as November 2018.

It also shows how his WND position allowed him to move in professional circles that included white nationalists, writers from Breitbart and the Daily Caller and prominent Donald Trump supporters including Steve Bannon and Jack Posobiec.

RWW determined Thompsons identity partly through a forensic voice test on audio recordings and partly through emails and testimony provided by Katie McHugh, a former far-right insider and Breitbart writer.

Evidence from McHugh underpinned reporting by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that showed how Trumps close aide Stephen Miller attempted to insert white nationalist themes into Breitbarts coverage of the 2016 presidential election.

Using the Paul Kersey pseudonym in online columns for outlets like VDare and American Renaissance, Thompson has for years whipped up racist fears about black crime; promoted racial paranoia about a demographic Great Replacement of white Americans; and spread falsehoods about the genetic inferiority of non-whites.

According to RWW, he has run an influential far-right blog, Stuff Black People Dont Like, since 2009. The blog is focused on promoting false white nationalist ideas about race and crime.

He has also regularly appeared as a guest on white nationalist podcasts including Red Ice, The Political Cesspool and Richard Spencers AltRight Radio and is currently the co-host of a podcast produced by a prominent SPLC-designated hate group, American Renaissance.

But in 2010, RWW reports, he was named in a press release from the Leadership Institute as working in their campus services program. The Guardian was able to confirm this by accessing an archived staff page for Campus Reform, the Leadership Institutes online vehicle for the prosecution of on-campus culture wars.

The Leadership Institute is one of the longest-standing institutions in the US conservative movement, focused on training young activists. It claims to have trained 200,000 such young conservatives over 40 years, in skills including public speaking, campaigning and fundraising.

In a series of archived snapshots from the Campus Reform staff page from September 2009 to July 2010, Thompson was listed as campus services coordinator for the western region. This suggests he began his pseudonymous white nationalist blog while employed by the Leadership Institute and its media arm.

Campus Reforms website was established at the beginning of 2009, according to Domain Name System records. It has typically targeted so-called political correctness and professors it deems to be leftists.

Using internet archiving services, the Guardian was able to access the full text of previously unreported Campus Reform articles by Thompson. In the bylines for those articles, written in 2009 and 2010, he is described as a Campus Reform reporter.

In the articles that were archived and accessible, Thompson does not openly use the vocabulary of white nationalism but does explore themes such as race and immigration.

One May 2010 article criticizes Colorado State students for staging a walkout in protest against a hardline immigration law passed in Arizona in 2010 and highlights the involvement of some students with an immigrant rights group, La Raza.

Another bemoans the decision of a Washington state public college, Evergreen State, to fund a visit by the academic and civil rights activist Angela Davis, calling her a Marxist agitator.

Many more articles offer instructions, guidance and assistance to conservative student activists.

Thompson leads with complaints about political correctness; news of anti-abortion, pro-gun and media activism by conservative students; and exhortations to run for student government.

In each case, he appeals to students to reach out to Campus Reform for information, training and organizing assistance.

The Guardian has discovered evidence that Thompson was able to make connections between students and members of the conservative movement.

A February 2011 guest post on the Campus Reform website by a senior at Utah State University describes that students experiences as a sponsored attendee at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which remains the principal annual gathering of the conservative movement.

The author writes: Michael Thompson, my regional field coordinator worked diligently to put me in contact with individuals and organizations willing to help me with future activism efforts on my campus.

RWW reports that Thompson worked at WND from at least January 2012 to November 2018.

Thompson, American Renaissance leader Jared Taylor and Joseph Farah of WND did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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White nationalist has long worked at conservative outlets under real name - The Guardian

It’s all about the base, no trouble – Ynetnews

The U.S. presidential election campaign officially gets underway on Monday, kicking off as it always does in Iowa, a small Midwestern state where the vast majority of the residents are white and their area of specialization is growing wheat.

Iowa is not America, but every four years the eyes of the nation turn upon it.

Likud supporters hold up Trump banners at a rally

Democratic party activists were to gather Monday in sports halls and community centers across the state for caucuses to discuss their options for presidential candidate. (The Republicans are sticking with the incumbent.)

This is a strange ritual, more akin to a youth movement debate than presidential primary. There are no polling stations and voting is done in stages, with activists trying to persuade one another how to vote.

The result is only important in one sense, seemingly giving momentum to the winning candidate and deflating their defeated rivals.

But this is only seemingly, for at the next stop, in the small state of New Hampshire, everything could change.

According to the polls, Democratic Iowa's favored candidate is Bernie Sanders, a 78-year-old Brooklyn native who looks, sounds and mainly screams like a 78-year-old Brooklyn native.

Bernie Sanders campaigning in Iowa

(Photo: AFP)

He was the first candidate for one of the two major American parties to declare that he was a socialist and has also strongly criticized Israel. This would be a Jewish president who would not rush to pray in Jerusalem.

In the past, a candidate like Sanders had no chance - he was too radical, too old, too in your face.

But the age of social networking has changed the rules of the game, not in the center but on the margins, where his base lives.

Bernie Sanders is a mirror image of Donald Trump. Both are populists, one on the extreme right and the other on the extreme left.

American voters, tired of the political correctness, corruption and manipulation from veteran politicians, are being drawn to whom they perceive as authentic.

And even when they are lying, Sanders and Trump's lies seem authentic.

Trump's support is holding, just like that of his Israeli friend Benjamin Netanyahu.

The revelations about him withholding aid to force the Ukrainian government to help him bring down his rival Joe Biden did not in any way affect his status in the polls.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump clasp hands as the U.S. peace plan is unveiled at the White House

(Photo: EPA)

The impeachment trial did not make his supporters cross party lines, much like the indictments against Netanyahu.

The Politico website appealed to Trump supporters among its readers with an interesting suggestion: Tell us why you support him.

Surprisingly, most respondents criticized Trump, but nevertheless decided to vote for him. They justified their decision by quoting the economic situation, the fight against illegal immigration, their antipathy towards his rivals.

In other words, not everyone who votes for Trump is a fan, just like not everyone in Israel who votes for Likud loves Netanyahu.

But after three years of Trump in America and after 10 years of Netanyahu in Israel, skeptical voters are still in no hurry to switch parties.

Some Israelis are sure that everything that happens in American politics is wonderful and want to recreate that at home. But they are wrong; America's elections are corrupt and controlled by big money.

The system is also flawed, and U.S. presidential elections effectively only take place in five or six swing states - which is better than in Israel, where the two biggest parties are deadlocked.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman

(Photo: Amit Shabi)

Netanyahu succeeded in creating a bloc of parties committed to him, whose voter base comprises almost half of the electorate. He failed, however, to create a party to the left of Likud that could pull in votes from his main rival Blue & White and bring him the coveted support of 61 MKs, something which he also failed to do in the two national elections of 2019.

The third election in 12 months, on March 2, will be different. After two futile rounds of voting, Yisrael Beytenu Avigdor Lieberman seems to have concluded that he can no longer sit on the sidelines.

He is now talking about an alternative government, which, if I understand correctly, would be a minority government of Blue & White, Labor and Yisrael Beytenu. The predominantly Arab Joint List is apparently not invited.

Ultimately, this coalition is short of four MKs to have the support of more than half of the Knesset. It's just not clear where they will get them from.

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It's all about the base, no trouble - Ynetnews

When the King of Debt Is the President – The New York Times

Mr. Douthat writes that the 2010s exposed the depth of problems without suggesting plausible solutions.

I want to offer another take on disillusionment. All my life Americans seemed to believe that our country was practically perfect in every way. Exceptional. Until we get over that, until most of us can accept that other countries may have better health care at lower cost and that our citizens could be better educated, we cannot move.

I cheer disillusionment as a step toward the movements, leaders, spiritual renewal and structural reforms that Mr. Douthat longs for.

Christine JohnsonPortola Valley, Calif.

To the Editor:

Ross Douthat has coined a term that perfectly captures my mental state at the end of 2019 prosperous despair. Yes, my bank account is fatter, but I am also often depressed and anxious about the world around me. For example, the devolution of politics into tribalism is terrifying.

James Carville famously coined the phrase Its the economy, stupid.

Maybe true in the more innocent 1990s, but in the post-truth era, Ive learned that its not that simple.

Janice GewirtzMountain Lakes, N.J.

To the Editor:

Re The Decade We Changed Our Minds, by Charles Blow (column, Dec. 30): What troubles me about culture in America is the strengthening dogmatism of superwoke culture and its consequences: to restrain freedom of speech and thought, and to dismiss as intellectually inferior or immoral those who disagree with the flock. We need to make an effort in the United States to be content with disagreement, and to embrace compromise something that, until relatively recently, anchored and enriched American culture.

Political correctness embraces conformity over truth, sensitivity over reality. Were not getting to the truth because it can be construed as offensive. Americans are walling themselves off from those who may have differing political opinions or worldviews, and in turn, marinating in self-indulgence and self-reinforcement. This lays bare a society that is losing its sense of common fraternity.

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When the King of Debt Is the President - The New York Times

Ricky Gervais is hosting the Golden Globes. Expect controversy. – Vox.com

In 2018, then-four-time host Ricky Gervais said that hosting the Golden Globes again would be the end of his career.

Gervais was thinking of the blowback he would likely receive from the gig in an increasingly polarized culture as a provocative comic whos known for offending people. But on January 5, he will indeed return to host the awards for a record fifth time.

NBC, which hosts the annual awards show, is leaning into the idea that Gervaiss hosting gig will be outlandish and unpredictable. Theres some justice to that: As Bafflers Brendan James put it in a rundown of Gervaiss career, Gervaiss only real claim on the publics attention in the past ten years has been his epic, renegade, no-holds-barred Golden Globes roast-a-thon, in which hes known for taking potshots at other celebrities and their failings, from Mel Gibsons alcoholism to Robert Downey Jrs drug abuse.

In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Gervais described his hosting style as wanting to represent the perspective of the viewer watching at home who wasnt invited into the room where it happens. But that descriptor downplays his habit of saying outrageous things both onstage and off. A look at Gervaiss standup history reveals that, far from being unpredictable, his comedy covers a pretty standard range of offenses, including taking cheap shots, doubling down on them, and getting defensive after the fact about people not getting the joke.

Gervais himself insists that punching down is a no-go: You mustnt make [identity factors] the target to be ridiculed, he told THR. You shouldnt laugh at something they cant help. ... Deep down, I want people to know Im not a racist or a homophobe or a sexist. But in the same interview, he also rails against political correctness: People like the idea of freedom of speech until they hear something they dont like.

This ambivalence means his Golden Globes gig will likely be a big swing from last years ground-breaking ceremony toward a more reactionary flavor. And while he may be on his best behavior for Sunday nights ceremony, its also likely we can expect Gervais to joke about everything from war with Iran to cancel culture itself.

How can we be so sure? Heres a selection of highlights from his previous comedy and performances, as well as other moments from his past history.

At the 2016 Golden Globes ceremony, Gervaiss opening monologue included a joke about Caitlyn Jenner that many viewers read as transphobic. After referring to her by her pre-transition name i.e. deadnaming her, a major dont if youre trying to support the transgender communities Gervais joked that while shed become a role model to trans women everywhere, she didnt do a lot for women drivers. The joke was a reminder that, in 2015, Jenner had been involved in a tragic four-car collision that left one person dead; Jenner bore no responsibility for the accident and was not charged and its likely audiences barely remembered the incident or understood Gervaiss point.

So Gervais went out of his way to reiterate his point multiple times first on Twitter, and then in his 2018 Netflix special, Humanity, where he made Jenner jokes that were far more explicitly transphobic than the joke he was trying to debunk as transphobic.

These additional jokes come in the middle of a segment in which Gervais describes creating a string of offensive jokes for his Golden Globes hosting gig including jokes about Bill Cosby raping various celebrities then ironically adds, Id never tell a joke like that, Id never even think of that ... Youre getting offended at a joke that doesnt exist.

Then he moved on to the Jenner joke. It wasnt transphobic in the slightest. It was a joke about a trans person, but the joke had nothing to do with that aspect of her existence. To make the argument, he then repeats the Golden Globes joke verbatim and attempts to explain it.

The target of the joke is a celebrity killing someone in their car, he says. A celebrity killing someone in their car, running home, and popping on a dress, he says.

He then goes on to discuss the deadnaming, in an extended segment in which he protests that he cant acknowledge that she used to be a man but she did! I saw him on the Olympic games! He then doubles down on the deadnaming and misgendering, doing both repeatedly. Its a deeply transphobic sketch in which he frames transgender identity as gaslighting him, while building a whole joke around Jenners anatomy.

He follows it all up by mocking the entire idea of transitioning by joking that hes going to transition into a chimpanzee.

This is just the most well-known example of Gervaiss transphobic humor. But as Lindy West noted in the New York Times after Humanitys release, his entire attitude toward trans identity is one of discomfort, and he present[s his] spasms of discomfort as something relatable.

Gervais recently drew backlash again for perceived transphobia just a few weeks ago. Shortly after the backlash over a transphobic tweet by J.K. Rowling, Gervais tweeted several things that many readers took as sardonic TERFdom.

He later clarified to THR that hed been playing along with a spoof Twitter account intended to parody white progressives, and had been intending to take the piss out of the parody account without acknowledging that he has a history of taking the piss out of trans identity itself.

Gervaiss history of mocking disabled identities is long. During his 2007 Fame standup tour, in particular, the comic courted controversy with this brand of humor. First came a segment in which he jokes about taking an autistic child to a casino the joke being that he ignorantly thought all autistic kids were like Dustin Hoffmans character in Rain Man. Then came a bit when he joked about chronic fatigue syndrome, known as ME: Not MS, he clarified, not the crippling, wasting disease. No, the thing that makes you say, I dont wanna go to work today.

He also stepped on toes with his portrayal of autism with his puzzling 2013 short series Derek, in which he revived a character hed created in 2001, Derek Noakes. Noakes who was originally a victim of child sexual abuse reads to many people as an adult man with autism, despite Gervaiss insistence that the character is actually just naive and gullible. Its worth noting that Gervais has also participated in fundraising events for autism support, and that he intended the character to be heroic, rather than a mockery; but many people had a muddled impression of the character, while the show itself drew mixed reviews.

Thankfully, his jokes here are rare, but theyre pretty dark. In the aforementioned Humanity special on Netflix, Gervais in the segment where he coyly discusses jokes that were too offensive for him to stay onstage by ... saying them onstage he briefly mocks Bill Cosbys victims by hypothesizing about which celebrities might be, essentially, unrape-able. First, he drops a slightly baffling joke implying that Helen Mirren is too much of a lady to be sexually assaulted. Then, he makes a fatphobic comment about Melissa McCarthy being too much of a beast to be subdued by the date rape drugs Cosby used in his assaults.

A third, extremely dark joke, is considered by some audiences to be one of Gervaiss best and by others to be among his most offensive for its trivialization of male sexual violence against women. The entire bit is built around a setup for a joke about child molestation, with an even darker twist joke about child sexual abuse at its center.

In late 2018, a Louis C.K. post-Me-Too comedy routine, which was still being workshopped through live performances, was leaked online, revealing a stretch of offensive material that mocked everyone from non-binary people to Parkland shooting victims.

Gervais spoke out in defense of Louis C.K., telling Vanity Fair in a 2019 interview that he sympathized with the other comedian for having jokes leaked while they were still in progress. But then he went further, once again blaming audiences for allegedly not understanding the jokes:

[C.K.s] got nothing against those [Parkland] kids. It was him pretending to be angry for comedy.

Two years ago, wed have got that. Wed have said, Oh yeah, hes being naughty. Now we go, No, he means it now. Now hes out in the cold; now hes an alt-right Nazi. Its ludicrous.

In other words, Gervais, joining many of his fellow comedians, blames cancel culture for destroying nuance in standup comedy, while also downplaying the reasons people find certain kinds of comedy offensive.

Remember that old segment from HBOs 2011s Talking Funny special that resurfaced in 2018 in which a bunch of male comics laugh at their own use of the n-word? In case youve forgotten which comics were involved in that delightful episode, here we have Chris Rock, a gleeful Louis C.K., a Ricky Gervais who seems hesitant at first but rapidly gets into the bit, and a Jerry Seinfeld who seems appalled the whole time.

This is important context for his assertion in the aforementioned THR interview that offensive humor is in the eye of the beholder:

Its a good thing to not be racist and sexist and homophobic. But its not a good thing to not be allowed to make jokes about those things, because you can tell a joke about race without being racist. Im happy to play by the rules. Its just that the 200 million people watching have different rules. Thats the plight. When people say, He crossed the line, I say, I didnt draw a line, you did. Its relative. Its subjective.

In the clip above, it almost appears that Gervais is re-drawing the line in front of our eyes, deciding that a line that couldnt be crossed seconds earlier saying the n-word is, in fact, fine.

What does all of this mean for Gervaiss 2020 Golden Globes appearance? Probably just where we were four years ago, the last time Gervais hosted the Globes: with Gervais taking potshots at various celebrities and pet progressive issues, then retreating into a defensive stance on social media. Brendan James notes in his Baffler piece that this disappointingly banal pattern has pretty much defined Gervaiss most recent career phase:

Gervais [abandoned] satire and storytelling and instead adopt[ed] a new comedic style of being incredibly logged-on and tweeting Have I offended you? Do you find me offensive? next to professionally shot photos of himself laughing. It is, in fact, a long way down from the brilliant work that made him famous.

This repetitive cycle means its probably too much to ask that Gervais undergo an attitudinal transformation before the Golden Globes ceremony and recognize that his transphobic jokes and other offensive jokes make life harder for real marginalized people.

But maybe this Sunday, with any luck, Gervais will just stick to mocking celebrities.

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Ricky Gervais is hosting the Golden Globes. Expect controversy. - Vox.com

Can Donald Trump and Boris Johnson save our world from anarchy? | TheHill – The Hill

Pause for a moment to escape from the insanity of the unhinged partisan politics that apparently have engulfed our nation and take a quick peek at the rest of the world. If you do, you will notice to your dismay that much of the world is coming apart at the seams as it appears to careen toward global anarchy.

Yet two world leaders U.S. President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden rips Trump tweets on Iran: 'Incredibly dangerous and irresponsible' Swalwell pens op-ed comparing Trump impeachment to XYZ Affair Rockets fired near Green Zone after day of mourning for Soleimani MORE and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson are in positions of legitimate strength to stop, or at least delay, our worlds collapse.

From both sides of the pond, no matter which direction these leaders turn, they could point to nations in dangerous stages of unrest. In many cases, countries literally are on fire, besieged by increasingly violent protests and riots.

France, Spain, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, the Philippines, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico, parts of Central America, Haiti and many other nations are dealing with protests, riots and fires; some also are experiencing executions and terrorism.

Potentially much more troubling whats happening in Russia, China, Ukraine, Serbia, Albania, Pakistan, India, North Korea and much of the African continent. All are experiencing real threats to their stability, including protests and emboldened rioters.

Some of these countries have nuclear arsenals that may be at risk, or their governments may become more inclined to consider using them.

Totalitarian tactics of oppression brought about much of the worlds unrest. Some protests are the result of spoiled, pampered students and activists who aim to bring about their view of utopian globalization. They would eradicate borders, wealth, hard work, taxes, accountability, law enforcement and just plain common sense.

These activists become enraged when the false promises of Marxism and socialism collapse and they are told they will have to pay more for public transportation or fuel, or, heaven forbid, work a few hours more to add to the tax base that pays for their benefits. Cue the riots.

Many predominantly young protestors are being radicalized in dangerous and permanent ways. Only a complete capitulation to their ignorant nation-destroying demands will satisfy them. Additionally, the leaders of countries that are under siege may be corrupt, incompetent, frozen by fear, or in socialist sympathy with those who are burning down their infrastructure.

But Trump and Johnson could emerge from all this anarchy as two leaders who may well represent the worlds best defense. These men mirror each other in critically important ways.

Many on the left especially from the arenas of academia, the media and entertainment like to pejoratively point out the superficial similarities between Trump and Johnson. Starting with their wild hair, the comparisons generally devolve to more childish schoolyard insults.

But interestingly, and ironically, three similarities that leftists attach to Trump and Johnson as badges of dishonor are that both men are not politically correct, can be considered populists, and are strongly anti-entrenched establishment.

So heres a message to the left: Trump and Johnson are succeeding precisely because both men do hear the voices of all the people, do rail against the destructive outcomes of political correctness, and will fight those in the entrenched establishment who are in it for themselves.

Certainly, Trump and Johnson disagree at times, but Trump instantly recognized that he might have a lasting ally in Johnson. With the Conservative Partys massive victory in the U.K. last month, Trump tweeted: Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!

And that is exactly the point. Both Johnson and Trump realize that the European Union is part of the much larger problem of global unrest and self-destruction that threatens nations stability and that of the world as a whole.

The fact is, both men bring unique real-world experiences to their offices Trump, as a decades-long successful businessman who has employed hundreds of thousands of people and Johnson, as a journalist, author and creative force who never has shied away from wielding cutting words as a rhetorical sword against ignorance, lies, power centers, failed policies or appeasement.

Each man, thankfully, marches to the beat of his own drum.

Barring some unforeseen situation, Trump will win reelection in 2020. When he does, he will have four years to work with Johnson to help right the situations that contribute to violence and anarchy. Together, they just might save our world from collapse.

As Winston Churchill said in his famed address to Congress in December 1941: In the days to come, the British and American peoples will, for their own safety and for the good of all, walk together side by side in majesty, in justice and in peace.

If Trump and Johnson cannot replicate that mission and victory, then lives, liberty and world peace will be in great peril.

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.

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Can Donald Trump and Boris Johnson save our world from anarchy? | TheHill - The Hill

In 2020, culture warriors need to call for a ceasefire – The National

Will this be the year that political correctness undergoes a course-correction? All the signs point to a rising enthusiasm for subversive expression against social liberalism. The revolt is against perceived censoriousness and complacent self-righteousness in speech, public policy, political choices and even stand-up comedy.

Consider this.

On December 26, the BBCs flagship domestic radio show, The Today Programme, featured a remarkable exchange between British prize-winning artist Grayson Perry and Marina Hyde, a liberal commentator on politics and culture. They discussed what Ms Hyde described as the incredibly ponderous nature of the political lefts response to national and international events, and its tendency to be too puritanical about language or action that might cause offence to minority groups.

Right round the time of this discussion, some culture mavens declared that it was time to bid a glad goodbye to the 2010s a decade of guilt in which naming and shaming, and an overwrought conscience, had played both too prominent and too ineffectual a part. Interestingly, this appeared in a British newspaper that predominantly serves business titans, bankers and suchlike on both sides of the Atlantic.

The left should lighten up and be less judgemental about those who question. And the right must be less afraid of the metaphorical other and more willing to address the reality of ceaseless change. That would set the terms of the debate very nicely for a new decade

Then in August, Dave Chappelle, an African-American once universally hailed for his stand-up comedy, offered up a profoundly politically incorrect Netflix special titled Sticks and Stones. Critics were unimpressed, acidly acknowledging that while Chappelle may still have the power to offend, he had lost the all-important comics power to shock. But audiences loved the show, giving it a Rotten Tomatoes score of 99 per cent.

And finally, some say that the backlash against political correctness has already proved itself, through election outcomes, not least Boris Johnsons landslide in Britain on December 12. It has been like that since 2016, when Donald Trumps complaints about eco-friendly restrictions on hairspray and his comments on women and minorities garnered controversy but did not decisively affect his electoral support. Four years later, Mr Trump is still seen by some as a champion of plainspeak.

A caveat is in order at this point. If there is any re-jigging of political correctness it will not mean the end of all linguistic good manners. The collective vocabulary has already expanded to a point beyond which it is simply unacceptable to levy racial slurs or to make jokes that denigrate people for their culture, beliefs, the colour of their skin, or a physical or mental disability.

So, what to make of the backlash to more than two decades of political correctness? How far will it go? Politicians who supposedly tell-it-like-it-is think Mr Johnson in the UK, Mr Trump in the US, Narendra Modi in India, Viktor Orban in Hungary and Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines have a following that celebrates the freedom to rebel. The insurgency is directed at political correctness gone mad, a phrase that is seen to encapsulate a deep and pent-up anger against a culture that allegedly prizes tolerance over truth-telling.

Back in May 2016, the intensity of that anger was expressed by a 22-year-old Trump supporter to The Atlantic magazine as follows: Disagreement gets you labeled fascist, racist, bigoted, etc. It can provoke a reaction so intense that youre suddenly an unperson to an acquaintance or friend. Its almost impossible to have polite or constructive political discussion.

Is that really true? Is political correctness really constraining honest debate and the free expression of opinion in the 21st century? Is it so bad to have linguistic guardrails for tolerance and magnanimity towards weaker sections of society? Is freewheeling majoritarian commentary, no matter how insensitive and threatening to everyone else, a necessary indicator that a society is really free?

The honest truth is that no society can flourish without genuinely free debate, especially about fraught issues that revolve around culture, majority values and minority rights. And it is equally true that no debate can be free if it is argued only with brutish rhetoric that stokes the majoritys fear and anger under the guise of rebelling against too much political correctness.

There should be no shame in updating the concept of political correctness based on the experience of past decades. The re-jigging would have to happen in two ways.

The first is relatively easy. Re-label, re-define and call political correctness what it really is: the verbal form of good manners, with inherently civilising qualities. The second course of action is a great deal harder: leave little space for the category that currently goes by the name of "politically incorrect". Nothing should be politically incorrect. Instead, it can be true or false, right or wrong, legal or illegal. Once political incorrectness falls away, it should be possible to have even the most difficult discussions those that bump up against liberal political principles without throwing around the charge of fascism, racism or bigotry.

So long as the discussion keeps to the now globally accepted collective vocabulary, we can be assured that everyones rights vulnerable minorities, as well as majority communities are protected.

Culture wars are not really ever settled by election victories, successful stand-up comedy shows or trenchant media commentary. More to the point, both sides are well matched in this contest for the ages. The anti-political correctness brigade has formidable tools of its own to match the cancel culture, woke-ness and no-platforming associated mainly with left-wing liberal opinion.

There has to be a middle path. The left should lighten up and be less judgemental about those who question. And the right must be less afraid of the metaphorical other and more willing to address the reality of ceaseless change. That would set the terms of the debate very nicely for a new decade.

Updated: January 1, 2020 11:48 AM

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In 2020, culture warriors need to call for a ceasefire - The National

Scarlett Johannson clarifies controversial casting feedback: I mishandled that – Sunriseread

Scarlett Johansson has responded to the backlash she obtained this summer season after saying she believes any actor ought to be capable to play any individual, or any tree, or any animal.

The assertion got here after the star dropped out of a movie primarily based on the lifetime of a transgender man as a consequence of criticism from the trans neighborhood. The 35-year-old was additionally accused of whitewashing in style Japanese manga Ghost within the Shell in 2017.

In hindsight, I mishandled that state of affairs, Johansson just lately advised Vainness Truthful of her earlier feedback. I used to be not delicate, my preliminary response to it. I wasnt completely conscious of how the trans neighborhood felt about these three actors enjoying and the way they felt on the whole about cis actors enjoying transgender individuals. I wasnt conscious of that dialog I used to be uneducated.

Johansson went on admit she misjudged the state of affairs, including, It was a tough time. It was like a whirlwind. I felt terribly about it. To really feel such as youre form of tone-deaf to one thing will not be a very good feeling.

Scarlett additionally launched a press release claiming her unique feedback have been taken out of context

An interview that was just lately printed has been edited for clickbait and is extensively taken out of context, she wrote. The query I used to be answering in my dialog with the up to date artist, David Salle, was concerning the confrontation between political correctness and artwork. I personally really feel that, in a super world, any actor ought to be capable to play anyone and Artwork, in all varieties, needs to be resistant to political correctness. Thats the level I used to be making, albeit didnt come throughout that manner.

I acknowledge that in actuality, theres a huge unfold discrepancy amongst my business that favors Caucasian, cis-gendered actors and that not each actor has been given the identical alternatives that Ive been privileged to, Johansson went on. I proceed to assist, and at all times have, variety in each business and can proceed to battle for initiatives the place everyone seems to be included.

The controversial quotes stem from a July 2019 As If journal interview the place she mentioned the intersection of political correctness and artwork.

Performing goes by tendencies, she stated. You understand, as an actor I needs to be allowed to play any individual, or any tree, or any animal as a result of thats my job and the necessities of my job. There are lots of social strains being drawn now, and lots of political correctness is being mirrored in artwork.

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Scarlett Johannson clarifies controversial casting feedback: I mishandled that - Sunriseread

Letter: Americans must be alert to threat from within – Reading Eagle


I disagree with Trump represents threat to American democracy (Reading Eagle, Dec. 29). The Founding Fathers designed our republics Constitution so that no one not even the president could become an existential threat. Apart from external threats from China, Russia, Iran and radical Islam, an insidious internal threat is posed by corrupt, entrenched bureaucracies in both political parties, government agencies, organizations, and the media. This is fostered by a populace that is generally uninterested, apathetic, and condones immorality by our own oft-coerced amorality.

Wherever theres power and money, corruption is inevitable. There are still some good men and women in politics, in government, in influential institutions and in the media. But we citizens must reaffirm that morality and the truth are not relative. We must reject media bias and partisan spin and abandon political correctness nonsense. This while voting in unity to make government service like military service sacrificial, modestly recompensed, term-limited and a patriotic duty, not a means by which people impose their will or divisive agenda upon others.

David A. Hagginbothom

Williamsburg, Va.

Editor's note: Hagginbothom is formerly of Muhlenberg Township.

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Letter: Americans must be alert to threat from within - Reading Eagle

Religions unseen effects on the elderly … and everyone else – Deseret News

As I recently entered the Bountiful Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an elderly married couple emerged. They were well into their 80s. Chatting warmly with each other, they both scooted walkers along to steady themselves. It was still early in the day, so they had gotten up with the chickens to attend the temple. They were dressed up to go somewhere special. They were visibly cheerful and having a great time; they clearly enjoyed being together.

They had been volunteering in the temple. Think about it: Where else besides a temple, church, synagogue or mosque service can barely mobile people of advanced age go to work, to be welcome contributors instead of patients, objects to be helped, or problems to be dealt with?

This couple and the many just like them have something to get out of bed for when they go to worship. They want to contribute. They want to feel useful and needed. They want to serve, to do something meaningful. They could just stay in bed and think about their aches and pains, about their limitations. But they choose to serve instead.

In worshiping, they meet and mingle with other people. The social connections they make broaden them and lift their spirits.

The main reason these people worship is to commune with God and pay him their devotions. Here they touch something holy. They promise God to be more obedient, less selfish, more loving, holier, more generous. There arent many places where octogenarians promise and strive to change, to improve, to do better. In this important sense, they are looking forward, not merely backward, as the elderly are often inclined to do. By their efforts and through the ceremonies they participate in, they emerge as better people. They feel Gods hand in their lives.

These people undoubtedly pray for their family a son or granddaughter who is ill, injured, dealing with mental illness, needing a job, suffering from addiction, going through a divorce or suffering financial difficulties. Thus, thousands of people pray for those who need Gods blessings. Just ask someone who has been the beneficiary of that process they feel it.

Science has proven regular religious service adds six years to the average lifespan. Meaningful social connections strongly correlate with improved quality and length of life, and the same goes for engaging in serving others. Feeling connected to ancestors, descendants and to family generally is another silver bullet for improving quality and length of life. No government program can rival the mental and physical benefits that church and family offer all ages in experiencing personal connectedness and meaningful service.

Our current age demands that society acknowledge the uniqueness of each person and their experience and background. If that means that we honor the worth and uniqueness of each individual, who can argue against it? The ultimate goal is to respect each person as an entity, all being of equal dignity, with equal rights.

A culture of political correctness increasingly requires that each individual also be acknowledged by their gender, race, sexual orientation, personal pronoun choices and other characteristics and personal choices. Religious affiliation, spiritual devotion and faith-based service must also be counted among the defining characteristics that make a person who he or she is; few things both guide and characterize a person more markedly.

Many on the political left and the media seem almost uniformly to see religion in negative terms. Admittedly, churches are struggling with hot button issues like same-sex marriage, Catholic sex abuse scandals and how to interface with the hyperpolarized political realm. But pure religion has always been and will always be the most positive and powerful force in making bad men good and good men better. Just ask my happy octogenarian fellow worshipers.

Greg Bell is the former lieutenant governor of Utah and the current president and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association.


Religions unseen effects on the elderly ... and everyone else - Deseret News

Sheriff gets robbed; why Grady Judd should have made Florida’s top Politicians of the Decade – Florida Politics

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and I have sparred for years over issues of transparency, crossing the line in labeling innocent men sex offendersand his aggressive practices seizing property from private citizens.

Those videos were seen hundreds of thousands of times and the controversial sheriff still got more than 95% of the vote when he ran for reelection in 2016.

In fact, Judd is so popular in Polk County, he hasnt had an opponent on the ballot in 15 years!

But dont mistake the tough-talkin, camera-lovin, bombastic Judd for just another lawman hes as shrewd of a politician as they come, tapping into rural Americas distaste for political correctness long before Donald Trump capitalized on it.

When Judd says hes going to speak, assignment managers all across West/Central Florida stop the presses and race their crews to hear what the sheriff will say from his headquarters in Winter Haven, even though its about as remote as you can get from the newsrooms of Tampa and Orlando; you just know Judd will give you a sound bite (or six) worthy of leading a newscast.

I mean, half the state knows why Polk Co. deputies shot a fleeing suspect 68 times (they ran out of bullets).

Judd isnt just one of the most recognizable politicians in Florida; with countless TV specials and his addiction to the Dateline-style undercover sex stings, he turned himself into the most recognizable sitting sheriff in America.

You want a politician with impact?

As president of the Florida Sheriffs Association in 2013 and 2014, Judd helped steer legislative priorities, a duty he continued even after leaving the statewide post. Hes also the current president of the Major County Sheriffs of America and plays a prominent role on theMarjory Stoneman Douglas State Commission.

Judd may not spend as much time in Tallahassee as some of Florida Politics other top politicians, but his popularity, impact, and ability to influence his community certainly rivals that of any Mayor on the list.

And with no opponent on the horizon for his 2020 reelection campaign, Judd is already building his resume for Florida Politics list of the top politicians for the next decade.

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Sheriff gets robbed; why Grady Judd should have made Florida's top Politicians of the Decade - Florida Politics

Dori: Im very disappointed in Nordstrom for booting Salvation Army – MyNorthwest.com


This story makes me so sad because I hold Nordstrom in very high regard.

It was a fantastic first job for all three of my daughters in high school and college. Everyone holds the company in high regard. So it is from that position of respect and love that I share a story about Nordstrom that really disturbs me.

The Seattle Times had a story over Christmas about an 85-year-old man named Dick Clarke who has been bell-ringing for the Salvation Army outside of the downtown Seattle Nordstrom for 18 years. He estimated that in that time, he collected over $100,000 for the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army does a lot of good all around the world, from feeding the hungry to disaster relief to addiction rehabilitation to fighting human trafficking to helping survivors of domestic violence.

Dori: Christian soccer player persecuted for beliefs

The Salvation Army is also an evangelical Christian organization. Some LGBTQ Nordstrom employees have apparently complained that the Salvation Army bell-ringing made them uncomfortable.

In a world of common sense and reality, the logical response to these employees would be that they need to raise the bar of what makes them uncomfortable. But we are not in a world of common sense and reality. We are in this bizarro-world where radical political correctness trumps reality.

And so, Nordstrom told the Salvation Army man that he could not ring the bell outside the store anymore, because the Salvation Army is an evangelical Christian organization that uses the money it raises for fundamental Christian principles like helping the least fortunate among us.

Instead, Nordstrom could have told the few employees who were offended, Sorry, but were a private company, the Salvation Army does a lot of incredible work around the world, and weve partnered with them. But instead, they got rid of that wonderful charity opportunity because of a small number of people.

Its a bad move by Nordstrom and Im extremely disappointed.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from 12-3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Im very disappointed in Nordstrom for booting Salvation Army - MyNorthwest.com

Will Gore Has the Lake District gone wet in its search for more visitor diversity? – The Independent

The quiet period between Christmas and new year is always a risky time for anyone making a media appearance, as the chief executive of the Lake District National Park Authority recently discovered.

Speaking to Sky News last weekend about the need to make the Lake District as welcoming as possible to all sections of British society, Richard Leafe quickly found himself accused of bringing identity politics into nature. His suggestion that the national park must adapt in small ways to attract a greater diversity of visitors was regarded in some quarters as political correctness gone mad.

For the most part, the rage that greeted him was concocted. The national parks are, as a matter of principle, for everyone to enjoy: yet there is no doubt that visitors are disproportionately white, middle-class, able-bodied and old. It should hardly be controversial to suggest that particular efforts might usefully be made to explain the Lake Districts merits to people from other backgrounds, and to encourage them to experience the areas wonders.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

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Will Gore Has the Lake District gone wet in its search for more visitor diversity? - The Independent

Tony Vagneur: Thankfully, we’ve put the brakes on skis becoming dangerous missiles – Aspen Times

Its the old how did we get here story. A group of us fifth-graders, out on Aspen Mountain enjoying the Red Brick schools always-popular Wednesday Afternoon Activities Club, had just started down the Ridge of Bell. Whoever our leader was that day has probably gone up in a swath of cold smoke.

Stopping just behind the leader, I looked up to see a flurry of activity followed by the haunting yell of days gone by on the mountain: Ski! Ski!

When safety straps failed for one reason or another (like not being decisively buckled), there was nothing to hold the ski to the foot in case of a binding release, and the ski was suddenly turned into a deadly missile, soaring down the slope, out of control. People have died or been severely injured by such flying skis, and everyone took it seriously when it occurred.

But this was different. Coming toward me, skipping off the top of the bumps, was a definitely loose ski topped off with a securely strapped-in ski boot. Visions like that are outside the realm of believability, but youth knows no safety bounds in an emergency and I managed to trap the fast-moving missile, stopping it dead in its tracks.

The girl who owned the unusual ski/boot apparatus was not very happy as we got her put back together and started the long trek to the bottom of the mountain, her wet foot and chagrined attitude slowing things down. The next week, she was no longer in our class. Since then, Ive seen a similar scenario a couple of times.

You cant talk about safety straps without talking about long thongs, those long leather lengths that held our boots to our bindings (about 3 feet long). In the early days, there were no safety bindings and our ski boot toes were held in place by two steel plates, one on each side of the ski. Long thongs were pulled tight against the heel of our boots, making sure the toe couldnt come loose at an inopportune time.

We pulled those long thongs very tight and no one ever came out of the ski binding, let alone the boot. There were several ways of wrapping the leather straps around boots, creating a visible pattern on the back of the boot, but practically all of them in Aspen were done in the same way, simply because we were fashion-conscious, I reckon.

When safety bindings came along, mainly in the form of Marker toes (at least to us), long thongs were still essential to keep your boot solidly against the Marker toe. Marker also had a spring latch that was snapped shut over the heel to keep the boot securely fastened. No safety release on the heel.

When you fell at a high rate of speed and your new Marker safety toe released, one or both skis would be freed from your feet, but would still be attached to you by the long thongs. The skis would flail around in all directions as the straps unraveled, hitting your body, sometimes gashing your head or shins. If you were lucky, you didnt get hurt by the gnashing of the ski edges and got up and put yourself together again. Such falls were aptly described as egg beaters, only in reality they were body beaters.

Many different models of safety release bindings were developed over the years, but the one remaining issue was that of safety straps or long thongs. Until, one bright and glorious day, wop stops appeared on the Aspen scene. Via radio, Robin Perry sent me out of the patrol room one day to stop a skier getting off Lift No. 3 he said the skier had no safety straps.

Said skier was chagrined to be stopped for such a violation, and after showing and describing the invention beneath his ski boot, a spring-loaded device that dug into the snow when the ski was released from the boot, we were convinced of its effectiveness in stopping runaway skis, although company policy had to be changed to allow such things on the mountain (1976).

Wop stops (name origination long forgotten) soon appeared within the patrol room, being mounted on everything except powder skis, the reasoning of which should be clear. If a ski is attached to you during a fall in deep powder, its much easier to find.

It should be said that wop stops were referred to as such until political correctness overtook the world of public discourse. They are now an integral part of every alpine downhill binding manufactured, albeit now denoted as ski brakes. We have unfortunately lost our sense of irreverence.

Weve come a long way, baby, and were not done yet.

Tony Vagneur remembers who lost the ski and boot on the Ridge, but he aint talking. Tony writes here every Saturday and welcomes your comments at ajv@sopris.net.

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Tony Vagneur: Thankfully, we've put the brakes on skis becoming dangerous missiles - Aspen Times